There’s some things which you have to do to get legally married, and one of them is make your legal declaration (‘I call upon these persons here present, to witness that I [partner 1] take you [partner two] to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/partner’) in front of two witnesses.
Traditionally, witnesses would often be the best man and maid of honour, but nowadays, couples are getting super creative when it comes to who has the honour of signing the paperwork.
Our members have curated some of their favourite ways couples have chosen their witnesses.
This is where you decide your witnesses prior to the ceremony, but you keep it a secret from them. We’ve seen this a lot, and it works so wonderfully well when it’s:
- A person or people who were integral to your ‘getting together’ story
- Mums – especially when the celebrant says ‘None of us would be here today if it wasn’t for these two people who were there, right from the get-go…’
- Adult children. If you or your partner have two adult children, this can be a really lovely way of giving them a significant role in your ceremony.
Heads or Tails
If you’re the kind of person, and have the kind of guests, who enjoy a bit of audience participation, this will be right up your street.
In advance to your ceremony, send your celebrant a list of questions about the two of you, such as:
- Who once appear as an extra in the background of an insurance ad on tv?
- Who has travelled to the most countries?
- Who said ‘I love you’ first?
- Who did the majority of the organising of this wedding?
The celebrant then asks all guests to stand, and direct them to put their hands on their head if they think it’s partner 1, or on their hips if it’s partner 2. They then keep on asking the list of questions until only two people are standing – and these two get to be your witnesses!
Place guests’ names in a hat or a bag, and draw two names. Handy tip: only include guest names who you would truly be comfortable with having as your witness. We all have that cousin who has a partner who is a bit ‘iffy’, and we’re pretty sure you don’t want their name on your certificate!
Hide tickets with two numbers under every guests chair, or print them on the order of ceremony, and have your celebrant or a guest act as a bingo caller. The first two guests to get two matching numbers shout out ‘By Jingo! I’ve got Bingo!’ and are your witnesses.
If feeling super creative, see if you can come up with little ditties for each of the numbers about the couple eg: ‘Erica and Sue, it’s number two’ or ‘The age Sam was when he met Charlie, it’s 28’.
Place two golden envelopes under guests chairs, and ask everyone to have a look under them to see who has the two of them. Alternatively, hand every guest an envelope, and ask them to open them at the same time. The two which have a golden ticket are the witnesses.
One Word of Advice
Just make sure that your two witnesses are aged over 18, and can understand what is going on, eg: if witnesses do not understand the language in which the marriage ceremony will be conducted (including ceremonies conducted in a sign language, such as Auslan), they will require an interpreter who will have to sign a Statutory Declaration to evidence faithful performance.